SmartLogic built the front-end of a highly-interactive web application that would work across desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

DinnerTime logo

The Problem

DinnerTime enables families to plan, shop and prepare meals via a user-friendly web application. DinnerTime developed a clear technology architecture and product roadmap; however, they needed a team to build the front-end of a highly-interactive web application that would work across desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

DinnerTime Meal Planner
The Meal Planner view shows the user all meals that s/he has planned for the upcoming few weeks.

"We knew from the outset that our product/service would need to be massively scalable as well as effective and attractive. We needed a world-class team to augment our core team," said DinnerTime’s CEO, Laura Moore.

Co-Founder Charlie Moore added, "We knew we would be iterating our feature set at a rapid pace, and integration with the core meal recommendation engine was essential. So we wanted to be able to work closely and in-person with the developers, if possible. The question was whether we could find those talents at a sufficiently high level here in the Mid-Atlantic."

Why SmartLogic?

DinnerTime circulated an RFP to a number of firms in Baltimore, New York, and the Mid-Atlantic. DinnerTime found each firm through referrals. SmartLogic was one of the top five respondents, and then one of two finalists.

According to Doug Lay, DinnerTime’s VP of IT, DinnerTime was quickly convinced that SmartLogic’s developers were "among the brightest developers in the region and fully capable of the work required."

DinnerTime Meal at a Glance
The daily view of the Meal Planner allows the user to select and modify dishes for each meal.

The Solution

DinnerTime Shopping List
DinnerTime auto-generates a Shopping List for the user's Meal Plan. The shopping list displays sale items at stores close to the user.

SmartLogic and DinnerTime have proved to be excellent partners. Here are a few of DinnerTime’s favorite aspects of working with SmartLogic:

  • DinnerTime was impressed with the "rigorous disciplines SmartLogic utilizes to plan, coordinate and manage rapid iterations and feature builds," said Lay. These processes include:
    • Tracking development via user stories in Pivotal Tracker.
    • Using pull requests with two approvals to improve code quality.
    • Employing continuous integration to rapidly deploy new code.
  • These processes, said Lay, give him "terrific visibility on key priorities." When necessary, Lay can "easily and quickly adjust development priorities" as the company pivots, which is key to any growing company’s success.
  • Lay is "in near constant communication with the SmartLogic team," and DinnerTime’s client-facing management team is in touch frequently as well. Lay praises this "highly collaborative environment." SmartLogic emphasizes communication and collaboration via the following methods:
    • Holding epic, iteration, and daily meetings or phone calls to establish big priorities and shift them as needed on an ongoing basis.
    • Chatting using Campfire to streamline communication.
    • Connecting developers at SmartLogic and key stakeholders at DinnerTime directly, so nothing gets lost in translation through a non-technical project manager.

The Results

DinnerTime released an alpha version four months after beginning work with SmartLogic, and a beta version two months later. Soon after that, DinnerTime acquired their first major client pilots, with highly successful results. Just one year after the beginning of the project, DinnerTime got their first sales, and a few months later, their first consumer subscriptions.

DinnerTime Recipe Box
The Recipe Box allows the user to store his or her favorite recipies and add them to future dinners.

At each stage, the product was improved based based on user feedback and behavior. SmartLogic has been closely involved with this process.

"We heartily recommend SmartLogic for other companies seeking to build world-class web applications," said Charlie Moore. "We have an extensive product roadmap and expect to continue to use SmartLogic as we build and release additional functionality throughout the coming year."